IHS: Welcome, Ruth. Thank you for being with us today. I’m really excited to have you here! Would you please tell our followers who you are, what city you're from?
Ruth: I am Ruth Ochs Webster (Ochs is pronounced “oaks”). I currently live in Pittsburgh, PA
IHS: Okay, Great! What is the title of the book you just completed with us?
IHS: Please tell us, what was your favorite part about listening to this book come to life?
Ruth: The favorite part is hearing your book come to life. This is my third novel now being made into an audiobook. I love it. It’s the next best thing to having it made into a movie.
IHS: I know what you mean! Now, whether fiction or non-fiction, books are truly inspired work from authors. What was your inspiration for this book?
Ruth: The inspiration for Cousins at War, and the entire Toe the Mark series, was the amazing stories I was unearthing about my own ancestors while digging through genealogical records. Basing stories on true events and real people is better than anything I could just make up. I start with a skeleton of a plot and character from real life and flesh it out fictionally. I love putting words in the mouths of people who walked this earth and wonder how close I come to their truth. I hope very close.
IHS: Switching gears now, is your primary business writing? If so, what do you do for fun? If not, what do you do “in real life”?
Ruth: Since I am a retiree, this writing project has become my primary business. I eat, sleep, and breathe it every day. And it is fun. I also play the guitar and sing in a group,with an occasional audience.
IHS: Yes, writing is indeed fun. Ok now, many authors are not audiobook listeners by nature. Are you? Have you ever listened to an audiobook before your own?
Ruth: I never did listen, and I still don’t. I tried it but can’t seem to give up “reading” in the traditional sense (and smelling the paper upon which books are printed). I know people, though, who love audio, and I can understand why. It’s that voice in your ear.
IHS: What was it like to hear your book come to life by giving it a voice?
Ruth: It’s harder than you think to choose one narrator from eight or so auditions. One seems strong in this aspect. You like the way another voices aparticular character. I whittled it down to three, and then two. The final two were a toss-up and it was difficult to choose between them.
IHS: What were you most worried about when starting out with this audiobook process? Did the worry happen or was it unjustified?
Ruth: I really didn’t have any particular worries about the process. Okay, one—the technology. I was a bit concerned that I would know how to listen, comment, and reply, to fix errors, etc. But it was simple. I just had never worked with audio files in any depth.
IHS: And, in hindsight, was there anything that you probably ACTUALLY should have been worried about instead?
IHS: Okay, let’s talk reviews. Do you read your reviews and will you read your listener comments? What do you most like to see in the comments?
Ruth: Reviews and comments make me nervous. I do read them (once), but don’t dwell there. My favorite comments have come totally unsolicited from readers who took the time to visit my website or write to my email address.I always reply to them. And what I love to hear is that the content, the message, of my books has moved them. That’s powerful, to make someone think.
IHS: Okay, once a book is finished, then the work of marketing begins. What do you do to spread the word about a new release?
Ruth: I maintain a Facebook author page and market through that. I also belong to Facebook writers and Civil War groups, where I do the same. I work in a niche market. My favorite marketing is giving lectures at libraries and museums and then selling the books afterward. Networking is the ultimate marketing tool. When in person, I hand out a business card which tells how to purchase the audiobook, since, obviously, I can’t autograph and sell that format.
IHS: Wow, you have the marketing aspect covered effectively. That's impressive! Moving on, what advice would you give those who are thinking about becoming an author?
Ruth: Writing has always been my passion. If it is your passion, follow your heart. How can that be wrong? Just remember, that advice is just that. You can’t jump through every person’s hoop. You don’t have to do this or that, just because some “expert” says you must. Chart your own course and decide what success looks like to you. It may be totally different than what it means to the next person.
IHS: Great advice from a great author! So for our audience who hasn't begun the process yet, what advice would you give authors who are thinking about doing an audiobook from their published book?
Ruth: Do it!
IHS: Straight to the point! We love it! So, what was the best part for you about working with I’m Hearing Stories.
Ruth: I like the people at I’m Hearing Stories. I love the narrator selection. I find the editors all very professional and supportive. Yes, I would recommend them.
IHS: Wow! Thank you so much Ruth! We love working with you and we are looking forward to more collaborations with you. What a fun time we've had chatting with you today and getting your input! Okay, just for fun now, why don't you give us the Top Ten Reasons You Could Never Be an Audiobook Narrator:
1. I’d have to stop and blow my nose.
2. I sniffle.
3. I sneeze.
4. No one with allergies should be a narrator.
5. I’ve been told my voice rises in pitch at the end of a sentence. What’s wrong with THAT?
6. I’d be too literal. If the author said, “she sang”, I would … or whistle.
7. If the character cried, I’d do that, too. Hence, more sniffling and tissues.
8. I’d want to edit whatever I was reading.
9. I’d want to revise the text.
10. The number one reason I should not be an audiobook narrator is that I would stop and make comments on everything.
IHS: Thank you, Ruth! That's fun! So, how can our followers learn more about you?
I was born and raised in Covington, Kentucky—the “Edge of the South”. That location on the banks of the Ohio River sparked my lifelong interest in history and travel. I am a retired National Board-Certified Teacher, with specializations in social studies and language arts.Cousins at War is the third historical novelI’ve written based on real-life ancestral characters, with a fourth in progress. I am a member of the DUV (Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War) and a researcher/transcriber in the Civil War Program at Carnegie Library in Pennsylvania.
Okay, folks, there you have it! Ruth Ochs Webster, author of Cousins at War (Toe the Mark).